“6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”Romans 4:6-8
In confession, God promises to forgive the iniquity of our sins.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”1 John 1:7-9
God offers forgiveness, mercy, through confessing and forsaking. And this mercy is a matter of justice. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He will justly honor the sacrifice of His Son. His blood bought people will receive forgiveness, for it is a matter of honoring the Son’s sufficient sacrifice. Christ’s work of atonement was pure mercy, and His payment has made our forgiveness, in one sense, a matter of justice.
This is part of what Paul says in chapter three of Romans. God is just, so sin cannot go unpunished. God is also the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus, and that is because Jesus accomplished a work for us. Jesus satisfied the justice of God in our place.
Christ’s work was so complete that it paid for our unbelief and purchased for us faith. From that gift of faith, we forsake our sins. Forsaking sin involves both turning from our sins (ceasing to walk in them) and walking after God.
Remember that nothing is ever neutral. There is no standing still in our relationship with God. You are always either feeding the flesh or feeding the Spirit.
John Owen, theologian and chaplain of one the most Christian army’s to date, communicated this by saying, “Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.”
Our homes are to be marked by a forsaking of sin and a pursuing of righteousness.
In family and marital conflicts, you men are to lead your homes in reconciliation. Step out of arguments when you have a desire simply to win, and shepherd your family, shepherd your wife. Remember that everything you do is catechizing. You are either catechizing in truth or falsehood.
Leading in reconciliation does not mean that you apologize when you have done nothing wrong. That’s horrible leadership and false repentance as a way of ending a conversation you’re no longer interested in having. Leading means sober evaluation, gracious confrontation, and then pursuing true repentance wherever sin is seen.
In similar conflicts you women are to be submissive to your husbands. Do not undermine their leadership, for your children will see all of it. In doing so you undermine the picture of Christ and His bride the church. You also can’t be silent and allow bitterness to take root against your husband. Communicate your feelings with an eye toward honoring your husband, respecting him and trusting him to lead you and your family. When you fail here, confess and forsake the sin and pursue that to which God has called you.
Children, ask your parents if there are ways you can be honoring them or your siblings better, because when you obey your parents and love your siblings you are showing love for Jesus by obeying His commands.
Parents, teach your children what it looks like, in your personal life and in your family life, to fight sin through true repentance.
Pursuing righteousness in our lives will also mean forsaking self-preservation.
Jesus was explicit when He told us where life was to be sought and found. Life is found in forsaking ourselves and pursuing Jesus (Luke 17:33).
Repentance is an acknowledgment of sin, and acknowledgment of failure. When repentance is needed, we must be willing to forsake the preservation of our own image and any other earthly thing and to strive always to walk in repentance.
All of this is to be sought by faith, trusting in God’s goodness toward us through Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Repentance is us seeing sin for what it is and taking hold of the promises of God. Again, this is a work of the Spirit of God. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is the Spirit that works in us to move us from dead works to being alive to serve the living God.